Darby O'Gill and the Little People



Imaginative story will draw tweens and teens in.
  • Review Date: February 24, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1996
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Janet Munro's character is assertive and doesn't wait for the boy she likes to ask her out.

Violence & scariness

A moaning banshee, harbinger of death, and the Costa Bower, the death coach, make a short, shivery appearance. Some violence; mostly off-screen. The heroine swipes the hero's cheek, leaving a mark.

Sexy stuff

Some kissing.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One scene relies on the Leprechaun king getting drunk; other drinking presented casually.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this low-key fantasy will win tweens' hearts, and most will find the brief scary parts just spooky enough. But as Darby and the leprechauns swap clever tricks, the film's engaging plot and evocative styling will keep the attention of older kids and adults as well. There's some drinking, shown as acceptable, and some brief scary scenes that may disturb more sensitive children.

Kids say

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What's the story?

Darby O'Gill (Albert Sharpe) loses his job to a younger man (Sean Connery). On his way home to tell his daughter Katie (Janet Munro), he ends up in an underground leprechaun kingdom. Although he is told can't leave the kindom, Darby escapes, followed by King Brian (Jimmy O'Dea). Brian ends up becoming Darby's property, and Darby demands Brian grant him three wishes and he'll let him go.

Is it any good?


The media has used leprechauns as cereal salesmen and serial killers, but in DARBY O'GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE, Disney and director Robert Stevenson effectively captured their mischievous charm and integral place in Irish tradition. Central elements are: a multi-layered story (based on works by H.T. Kavanagh); skillful use of special effects photography; and a capable, winning cast. Darby himself is a character as colorful as his own tales and well-matched by King Brian, who manages to avoid stereotype while proving his fondness for Darby, both as a worthy adversary and fast friend.

The film offers a rich blend of atmospheric otherworldliness (in the mists of the fairy mountain, Knocknasheega, where pookas reign) and earthy realism (in the rustic sets, rousing music and authentically craggy faces). In his youthful glory, Sean Connery shines (and sings!) in his scenes with the adorable Janet Munro. She's spunky and modern, inviting him to a dance and initiating their first kiss. Their bumpy romance adds a warm dimension. Children and even adults may stumble over some of the Irish accents, but these enhance the flavor and obscure nothing essential. From the same Disney era which produced the favorite Old Yeller, Darby O'Gill and the Little People is a classic in its own right. In fact, one household has used it to celebrate St. Patrick's Day annually since their 14-year-old was little, and it's still a favorite.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages. What do the characters learn? Families can also discuss why Darby was afraid to tell his daughter that he lost his job, and how he was willing to sacrifice himself for her.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 21, 1996
DVD release date:May 21, 1996
Cast:Janet Munro, Jimmy O'Dea, Sean Connery
Director:Robert Stevenson
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:G
MPAA explanation:children's themes

This review of Darby O'Gill and the Little People was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byheather s October 11, 2011

Not Fun for Young Kids

I remembered this as a great movie when I was a kid. The leprechauns and their dancing are very cool but the main characters are all grown-ups. My 4-year old bailed at the scene where the leprechaun king is plied with whiskey. It's not really a kids movie.
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bytommysportsgirl April 9, 2008
The death coach scene scared me as a child, but overall, a good story./


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